I had an adventure today with a housecoat-wearing little old Portuguese lady. Well, she wasn't that old. Sixty-something, maybe.
I left the apartment on my morning pre-run, warm-up walk. As I neared the park on the corner of our street I saw a little lady in a housecoat coming in my direction. She was looking into the park with concern. The park, or maybe I should call it a "park," is one of those horrible parks they made in the seventies that is 95% paved and the only ones who go there to "relax and enjoy" it are pigeons and winos.
I followed the woman's glance and saw that there was another woman sitting slumped over on one of the benches. She was sitting, bent over at the waist so her face was below her knees. She was either sleeping off something incredibly powerful or she was recently deceased. Her face wasn't purple though - a good sign.
Housecoat lady and I conferred. If the woman was sleeping we didn't want to bother her but if she needed medical attention then she should get it. We remembered that the hospital was just around the corner and we could go there and tell someone rather than calling 911. So we set off together for the hospital. I could have done it myself but she came along too.
It's a short walk but there was time to make conversation. I found out that the lady was on her way to the pharmacy. I asked her if she was enjoying her summer. She said "I don't like summer very much. It's too hot. I don't like to be hot." Her answer delighted me. I said, "me too! I HATE being hot! This has been a very nice summer but still too hot for me." A kindred spirit! We agreed we preferred fall.
We got to the hospital and told the officers at the Public Safety window about the slumped-over woman in the park. They looked at us as if to say "why did you have to go and tell us this?" but they said they'd take care of it. The lady and I left, not knowing if we'd actually helped anyone or not.
I never know what to do in those situations. I feel cowardly for not just going and asking the person if they need help. I don't know - I don't want to go hover over some sleeping person. That's creepy. I don't want to be a condescending jerk either. "Oh you poor drug addict. You must need professional medical attention." Not that I'd ever say that. But, you know, sometimes people just want to be left alone with their good friend heroin (or whatever.)
The lady and I parted ways, she went off to Walgreens, I continued on for my run. We wished each other a good day and good rest of the summer. I hope I bump into her again. I had just been complaining to myself that I rarely meet anyone I feel an immediate connection with and along comes this lady and we go on a mission together.
When I got back from my run I looked into the park to see if the passed-out woman was still there. She was but she had shifted into a much more reasonable position, on her back with her head resting face-up on the bench. She was definitely on something but she wasn't going to die imminently - I don't think. I don't know if anyone had come to check on her.
Whether or not I did anyone any good, I'm glad I got to meet housecoat lady.